Tablet Magazines – 3 Reasons Why No-One Is Reading Them
Each journalistic medium has reacted differently to the digital takeover. Television adapted quickly realizing the potential for 24-hour rolling news to keep up with the immediacy of the internet; radio managed to utilise the tools digital media provided to stay afloat amid competition; newspapers, well, they mostly buried their heads in the sand hoping that the internet would magically disappear.
But what of magazines? With the release of Apple‘s iPad and the birth of the tablet craze, which saw similar releases from Samsung, Tesco and more, there was a lot of optimism in the magazine industry. Suddenly there had been a bridge built between them and the online world; the functions of a magazine could now come with all the features provided by the internet. Soon, tablet magazines were born.
Publishers didn’t make the mistake of their newspaper siblings and jumped into this new territory head first. What they created was innovative, creative, and hugely appealing. Magazines were now able to show videos, play music, feature slideshows and so much more to meet the new demands of their customers. The only problem: their customers still didn’t care.
After the initial success of Game Informer’s tablet magazines, which made up 38% of their 7m circulation, figures began to plummet. Only 8% of Cosmopolitan’s readership wanted their entry into this new market. Only 6% wanted Reader’s Digest’s. So why is no-one reading tablet magazines?
1. Too much competition
The first and foremost reason is that there is simply no room in people’s lives for tablet magazines. Before tablets and smartphones magazines were mostly used as time-wasters for when you had nothing to do. They were something to occupy you on a long train ride, in a doctor’s waiting room, or while you were on your lunch break at work. However, today, the average tablet user has approximately 41 apps on their device ranging from social networking to instant messengers, from games to web browsers. Users therefore have a lot of things fighting for their eyeballs (and fingertips) in a way that didn’t happen before — and until magazines start letting you throw animated birds at things, they simply can’t compete.
2. Tablet magazines are better, but just not enough
For a magazine’s dedicated followers, tablets undoubtedly add more to their experience than the print counterpart could. They are just as pretty, user-friendly and full of life as any basic website could be. However, they have still not been able to show their readers why should choose a tablet magazine (that you often have to pay for, don’t forget) instead of visiting either the publication’s website — or at least a website that has similar, good quality content.
3. It’s almost impossible to promote a new magazine
Unless your publication is one that has gathered a reputation prior to the creation of the tablet magazine, you are more or less dead in the water. As they exist in an app and not specifically on the web there is no way for tablet magazines or any of their pages to a) rank on search engines like Google or Yahoo and b) be linked to via forums, blogs and social media. Therefore, while there are exciting new websites being shared every day, keeping people amused while browsing online, this just isn’t possible with tablet magazines. Users cannot be blamed for getting bored of the same old familiar titles.